Author Topic: Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.  (Read 36633 times)

Makaveli

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Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.
« on: August 01, 2017, 12:00:14 PM »
I will make it short.


I was in the middle of reading Sam Gerran's Last Revelation, when I stumbled upon his 4:34, where just as the traditionalists he translates ḍaraba as beat/spank. My .pdf version of the Last Revelation does not allow me to copy/paste text, so I will leave his video on the topic for you to review yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQUsqdH_2Cs (you can also read his main points under the video title).

After careful examination of his explanation and reading what he had to say, I've sent him the following message on Facebook, depicting the critique of his own argument:

Quote
Dear Sam,

I am reading your reformist translation of the Quran and just stumbled upon your interpretation of the 4:34. Tbh I am quite suprirsed that you actually translate it the way traditionalists do (spank or beat). I have read your explanation, but I do not agree with it for a number of reason:

1. Your primary focus of an argument here is historical/traditional one. Specifically you refer to the Orthodox Домострой as something, which established family conduct for Eastern Christians. This is all true and logical, but, at the same tome, how can you exclude hadiths or traditional approaches to the Quran if you yourself cite traditional sources in this emotional women-related subject? Yes, of course, even in '50's in America it was perfectly all right for husbands to beat their wives, until the 60;s - 70's liberal reforms. But who said that something, which was/is common and 'normal' is what is right?

2. Secondly, the verse 4:34 makes no sense, at least to me, if I use traditional (including yours) explanation, and this is something not taken from Edip Yuksel or other reformist translations, this is something I personally refer to. I can compare 4:34 with 47:4, which makes perfect sense in terms of wartime captives - once you have captured some, fight their side until subdued, then either release them or ransom. That perfectly makes sense, because you cannt release or ransom beheaded folk.

Now, how come the Qur'an is telling husbands to beat their wives AFTER they stopped sharing bed with them? It would perfectly make sense in case the verse would be as following: first admonish, then beat if they continue to disobey. But it says instead first admonish, leave them in beds apart, and then [ choose your interpretation ] . Personally choose 'leave' for three major sub-reasons:

1) It does not tell you the degree of what is 'spank' or 'beat', how strong one should spank her? Is it like Michaelle Corleone from Godfather 2 (Striking Kate Scene) or beat her to death? How one is supposed to know?

2) It does not tell you what will happen AFTER you beat her BUT she does not comply. It only says, if they obey you, seek nothing against them. But what if they contibue to disobey?

3) What is the point of beating her AFTER a man already made steps towards leaving her? I am not sure for all married couples out there, but for me personally ceasing to sleep with a wife means nothing but becoming [or simulating] being cold to her and eventually leave for good. How can I beat her once I already made steps towards naturally leaving her? It does not make sense.

3. In one of your videos where you explain why you did not 'accept Jesus as your Lord ad Savior' you mentioned dubious Bible interpretations by the Christians, who, as you said, do not understand the nature of semitic languages, which cannot be translated literally, but with 4:34 you seem to follow the very same path, by using the term ḍaraba in its literal explanation.

4. 4:34 may follow in the context of 4:29 (for ye who heed warning), which may not mean that other Qur'anic verses are automatically invalid outside of the specific context of 4:34. For instance, in 4:25 Qur'an states that in case one may not marry a free believing woman he may marry a maid, whose origins are not within monotheistic culture and in case she commits impurity then the punishment for her is but half of that for believing women. In the context of 4:34, what if a muslim man marries the non-,muslim [read outside of Quranic tradition] woman and she regularly disobeys him, can he punish her the same way one would expect him to punish a woman who [heeds warning]?

In conclusion, considering the above issues I fail to accept your (and the traditional) explanation of 4:34. I therefore kindly ask you to once again review this problem. I am certain that your own family atmosphere is harmonious enough that punishment described in 4:34 is seldom your personal private practice, but people who read your translation and choose the Last Revelation as the Qur'an they want to live by, may end up with wrong (in my opinion) view on solving marital problems.



After a few minutes, he bans me, then unbans and writes a short sentence of how he 'has no time for personal theories'. And after I reply he advises me to write a book, after which I am banned and cannot respond back.

While I was preparing given post he sent me a video of what a 'doer' is according to the Quran (more likely to his own interpretation), but again, I cannot respond:



Irony is that I have actually seen his videos and read some of his articles, including 'doers' topic, but this guy acts like a hypocrite. He hates the elite and calls them psychopaths ( see for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuisW7rSU98 ), yet is acting similarly to fascists and traditionalists who ban anyone who is of opposite opinion.

This is the day I personally reject the Last Revelation by Sam Gerrans, not because of his translation but because of the personality of the author. If he was fair he would not ban people for sending him messages, considering no one bans his websites from spreading his books. And to myself such person is unfair and if he is unfair then I can fairly conclude that anything which comes from him, I consider such work as 'wrong' or unfair.

This is not about 'writing a book'. This is about the context of a specific verse within the Quranic context. It does not take a book to write, but a few pages perhaps. I can agree with him that there are 'doers' and 'theorists' and that they are not equal (there is also the Quranic statement which can be interpreted as such - 9:19), but this is not just my own points, I have included his own explanation of 4:34 as my focus, which left me questioning his primary argument regarding 4:34.

Just sharing my own experience, if you believe the Last Revelation to be true translation - in no way I am asking you not to follow it.

P.S. If you want more authentic proof that such 'conversation' took place, please contact me via PM, so we may connect on Facebook.
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Mazhar

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Makaveli

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Re: Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 12:44:06 PM »
Grand Qur'aan has prohibited domestic violence negating erroneous "belief" of beating one's wife.

Thanks but I suggest this post focuses on the 'Last Revelation' by Sam Gerrans and his interpretation of 4:34 as well as critique towards his concrete points, rather than other reformist interpretations of the given verse. There are certainly numerous other topics dedicated to the issue of wife beating discussed here, but this topic is directed specifically towards Sam Gerrans and the criticism of his explanation.
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Comrox

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Re: Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 03:23:52 PM »
I don't agree with Gerrans' interpretation of 4:34 but I thought that his translation/notes/commentaries on other verses might be valuable. Now I'm rethinking buying those notes. Can't believe he blocked you. :/
10:109 Follow what is being inspired to you and be patient until God judges.

57:3 He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Innermost. And He is fully aware of all things.

Wakas

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Re: Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 02:19:19 AM »
I'm not sure what he means by "I have not time for personal theories" because it could easily be argued much of his insights/interpretations in his Quran translation are "personal theories". Perhaps he means personal theories via online messages, as opposed to a dedicated research work/book.

In any case, I also disagree with his interpretation of 4:34, and yours. The flaws of both understandings are discussed in detail at www.Quran434.com Further discussed on the forum also.
All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11. My articles

www.studyQuran.org

Makaveli

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Re: Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 04:40:53 AM »
I'm not sure what he means by "I have not time for personal theories" because it could easily be argued much of his insights/interpretations in his Quran translation are "personal theories". Perhaps he means personal theories via online messages, as opposed to a dedicated research work/book.

In any case, I also disagree with his interpretation of 4:34, and yours. The flaws of both understandings are discussed in detail at www.Quran434.com Further discussed on the forum also.

I am sorry, but if I have to read a hundred pages long diatribe as to why daraba means anything else other than beating then it only proves that traditionalists are correct in regards to 4:34. Explanation must be easy and sound, not a hundred pages long "interpretation" and a game with word-root play.

If you happen to open the Quran for the first time. You know nothing about 4:34. You don't know anything about traditionalists or reformists, you just happen to open the book. What will you see in 4:34? Exactly. You will not have all these interpretive appendices that you and Mazhar cited here, you will just read it [as it is]. And my argumentation at least comes from reason.


As to Sam Gerrans, he clearly has time to asnwer messages if he claims he is:

1) an activist, i.e. has to communicate/interact with his public;

2) a doer - i.e. does something. However other than posting news on Facebook and videos on Youtube as well as blocking people for having an opposite opinion I did not see him do much. His work is great in its form, but if he asks someone to write a book, which he will read [in case it's good] then I should ask him, who funded him for three years of writing the Last Revelation? In case a person works 5-6 times a week he physically has no time on doing a job he did. What funded him? His wife? Some foundations? A side business [in which case he is an exploiter - the same type of a person he critisizes in his videos]?

Regarding the textbooks vs messages, as I said in my post, it is now about his whole work (even though I rejected anything related to him due to reasons described above) but a certain verse, and it was questioned in accordance with HIS arguments, not even mine. His arguments are:

1. It is historical to beat wives - look at Christian Domostroi - iright, well why do you reject hadiths then, in case you cite other historical works?

2. Daraba clearly means beat - okay, but it dos not make sense for a number of reasons [described in my post], how so? And what is the degree of beating? Can a husband beat her to half-dead? Why not? There is not a single root of word lightly there.

3. 4:34 is in context of 4:29 [O ye who believe/heed warning] - okay, does it mean that 4:29 automatically cancels any other verses? What about 4:25 about marrying women who are no considered believers [and punishments applied to them]?

That is an argument based on HIS argumentation, which I failed to accept.
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Wakas

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Re: Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2017, 07:24:06 AM »
I am sorry, but if I have to read a hundred pages long diatribe as to why daraba means anything else other than beating then it only proves that traditionalists are correct in regards to 4:34. Explanation must be easy and sound, not a hundred pages long "interpretation" and a game with word-root play.

Woeful reply.

Ironically, your dismissal of my arguments is likeable to Sam's response to your arguments (i.e. dismissed without analysis, thus baseless and illogical). Hypocrisy in action.

Regarding your diatribe against Sam Gerrans, sorry but I choose not to respond to personal theories.













All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11. My articles

www.studyQuran.org

SarahY

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Re: Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 07:28:18 AM »
I am sorry, but if I have to read a hundred pages long diatribe as to why daraba means anything else other than beating then it only proves that traditionalists are correct in regards to 4:34. Explanation must be easy and sound, not a hundred pages long "interpretation" and a game with word-root play.

If you happen to open the Quran for the first time. You know nothing about 4:34. You don't know anything about traditionalists or reformists, you just happen to open the book. What will you see in 4:34? Exactly. You will not have all these interpretive appendices that you and Mazhar cited here, you will just read it [as it is]. And my argumentation at least comes from reason.

Read part 4 the summary with conclusion it's not hundred pages.

Also I don't get your "read as is" reasoning. If you happen to open the book and read what it says it's all subject to your understanding of the word in the socio-cultural context of how it is used, you can't escape bias. For example the word "hijab" is often used to mean headscarf, it never used to be so droned in to mean that. People used to use other words more commonly such as esharb and tarha. Today Non-Muslims use the term hijab to mean headscarf. So if I open the book and see the word hijab if I take your as is approach then I believe there would be flaws.

I'd imagine Sam Gerrans gets alot of criticism it's a shame he didn't take you seriously but I guess you didn't provide an alternative theory just a disagreement.



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Makaveli

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Re: Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 07:49:06 AM »
Woeful reply.

Ironically, your dismissal of my arguments is likeable to Sam's response to your arguments (i.e. dismissed without analysis, thus baseless and illogical). Hypocrisy in action.

Regarding your diatribe against Sam Gerrans, sorry but I choose not to respond to personal theories.

So apparently sending funny images is your primary argument? In regards to my 'diatribe' which is just a few lines long, compared to the link you have provided which demands a vast amount of time to be invested to understand the author's research to justify his cite instead of beat argument, I am sorry, I will stick to reason rather than personal novels.


I did read some of it though, while its argument around divorce and authority [a middleman to mediate between two families in 4:46] sounds more or less intact, it's main focus surrounding the root drb is just something which only proves my initial conclusion on the subject - the explanation should be simple, as simple as a few line shorts. It's either black or white, there is nothing in the middle. I refuse to speculate further, because I reject the traditions and hadiths, unlike yourself who clearly ceases to follow one tradition [ahadiths] but turns to other traditions [diatribe interpretations].

To see how your own diatribes are similar to hadiths, open any traditional explanation of controversial verses or hadiths - clergymen write similar diatribes so as to justify this or the other and I am supposed to believe it? Why not explain it simple in a few lines, as I do instead of writing novels based on somebody's else research? Again, if I happen to open the Qur'an for the first time I won't have all these appendices with me. If I happen to read Qur'an in the prison, I won't have all these unnecessary appendices with me.
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Makaveli

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Re: Note on 4:34 and Sam Gerrans.
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2017, 07:56:08 AM »
Read part 4 the summary with conclusion it's not hundred pages.

Also I don't get your "read as is" reasoning. If you happen to open the book and read what it says it's all subject to your understanding of the word in the socio-cultural context of how it is used, you can't escape bias. For example the word "hijab" is often used to mean headscarf, it never used to be so droned in to mean that. People used to use other words more commonly such as esharb and tarha. Today Non-Muslims use the term hijab to mean headscarf. So if I open the book and see the word hijab if I take your as is approach then I believe there would be flaws.

I'd imagine Sam Gerrans gets alot of criticism it's a shame he didn't take you seriously but I guess you didn't provide an alternative theory just a disagreement.

First of all, there is nothing scary or 'bad' about hijab as a headscarf, it's way better than if a woman sprays strong perfume all other her body so that I know she is passing by a kilometer before I can actually see her. You can't reject modesty in Qur'an. What is 'bad', however, is a black bag which women are forced to wear in some parts of the world. So I frankly do not understand all the Qur'an alone hysteria over hijab. If she wants she can wear it and still look good and modest at the same time. Plus the hijab does not have to look like arabic headscarf, it can be a stylish hat. You can check [google] Valeriya Porohova - she is an author of the Qur'an translation in Russia.

Secondly, I was talking more about people who originate from Arabic familes and speak Arabic at home. The links people provided here imply that I should learn or study Arabic myself otherwise I won't be able to make sure that what is written there in regards to the translation of root dbr is actually true. In fact, I still struggle to find the same roots in Qur'anic verses when I try to do my own research because I can barely read Arabic. It takes a while. And I only believe somethign I can personally experience. My argumentation is based on reason only not a novel long diatribe which implies I need to accept it. I don't even know if the author of the 'novel' is Arabic himself.

So if a person fluent in Arabic reads the Qur'an what will he [or she] see in 4:34? I have personally seen people who claim to be from Arabic families and countries and translate certain verses not the way traditionalists translate them. I also know that many Arabs despite knowing the language do not understand the Qur'an. Therefore, I believe the logical apporach is more important rather than the diatribe based on the root research.

Now, regarding the Sam Gerran's, I suggest you read my message to him once again. It is clear that I lean towards reformist translation of the term in 4:34 for a number of reasons, which are based on Sam Gerran's findings, but also my own observation. Beat in the context just does not make sense for a number of numbered points.
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